Pasta bake, in all of it’s one-pot glory, ticks every single box. Not only is this family favourite food the ultimate veggie smuggler recipe but it is perfect for feeding fussy eaters and is second to none when it comes to comfort food. Oh, and if you’ve ever asked the question, can you freeze pasta bake – the answer is yes!
There are countless different ways to create a pasta bake recipe. Whether you want to do bolognese sauce with a twist or you feel like a simple and classic combination of chicken and mushrooms – there is a recipe to suit all tastes and preferences.
Before you create your ultimate dish, our must know tips will help you to achieve perfectly cooked pasta, a flavoursome sauce and to create the all important, bubbly and golden top.
Top 5 ways to create the perfect pasta bake
1. Picking the right pasta for pasta bake
Making the perfect pasta bake recipe starts with the type of pasta you choose. Think about a pasta that will keep all of the saucy goodness in your dish. Try a ribbed penne or fussili (spiral pasta), these have grooves that will soak up the great flavours of your sauce.
2. How to cook pasta al dente
It’s easy to get confused about how long you should cook your pasta for a pasta bake recipe. You definitely need to pre-cook your pasta in a pot of boiled water, but rather than following the usual packet instructions, keep the pasta slightly undercooked or al dente (firm to bite). The pasta will continue to cook when it’s transferred to the oven, so this way you will achieve the desired consistancy.
3. Why you should let your pasta bake rest
Okay so it’s slightly hard to not serve up the baked goodness that is, your pasta bake, straight away. However, it’s important to wait approximately 5-10 minutes. This gives the sauce time to settle and slightly firm up. The result, your pasta bake will hold shape, and you won’t see the sauce separate from the other ingredients.
4. How to get a thick pasta sauce
Like any baked dish with sauce, the consistency of the sauce will thin when placed in a high oven-heat. It is better to have a thicker sauce, that will thin in the cooking process, than a sauce which will cause your dish to fall apart when served.
TIP: To thicken a sauce quickly with cornflour, use one tablespoon of cornflour with equal parts water and mix together in a small bowl until it is smooth and free of lumps. Then, slowly add this mixture to your sauce while stirring constantly.
5. Combination of cheeses for a perfect golden top
The best way to achieve a beautiful golden top for your pasta bake is to use a blend of cheeses. On its own, cheddar will become too oily, mozarella will not create a strong flavour, and parmesan will be slightly too sharp. However, a combination of the three will balance out each of these characteristics and create a perfect golden top. The Perfect Bakes mix by Perfect Italiano is a three in one selection, just what your pasta bake needs.
TIP: To add a bit of crunch to the top of your pasta bake recipe, sprinkle a thin layer of breadcrumbs on top of your cheese before baking.
With all of these must know tips in mind, create these great pasta bake recipes below. Then, view the recipe collection by Perfect Italiano for over 100 great Italian inspired recipes.
You’ll find even more delicious pasta ideas in the Essential Italian Cookbook by Perfect Italiano. Get your copy for iPad and iPhone here.
*DISCLAIMER: Perfect Italiano is a contributing recipe Partner at myfoodbook.com.au. This feature includes a mix of content sourced from Perfect Italiano and our own opinions. You can find out more about the full range of Perfect Italiano Cheese, here.